I can always tell which phase a company is when it comes to their social selling tool maturity by asking a simple question. This question tells me if a company is in the standard operating procedure phase, the best practices phase, or into best-in-class phase.

“How Specifically Do You Design Your Digital Sales Plays/Activities For Your Sellers?”

What I’m looking for is your response:

Standard: “We use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to follow our top accounts.”

Best Practices: “We leverage LinkedIn Sales Navigator to share PointDrive assets to all Stage 1 opportunities to segment which accounts are more engaged, so we can focus our sellers’ time on the accounts with high buying intent.”

Best-in-Class: “We have a sales objective to increase SQL-to-Close Win rates, as we’ve determined that increasing SQL volumes has become too costly (Cost of Customer Acquisition) per unit, and we’ve been stagnant on volumes for 18 months. Thus we’ve recognized that when we share market best practices and local event networking with opportunities early, we’ve dramatically shaped the RFP selection criteria in our favor (by up to +20%).

To optimize this sales play/activity with digital, we’ve created personalized videos for each account, introducing the seller in their territory. We then deliver 5 market best practices to each account over a 5-week period. We’ve chosen LinkedIn PointDrive as the communications tool because it has helped the sellers better map out the buying committee, and provide clearer insights on engagement.

Based on a buyer’s engagement, we then segment each account into 3 buckets:

a) Hot

b) Nurture

c) Cold

We know that each seller is capable of really concentrating on 20 accounts at any given time. The hot list (no greater than 20 accounts) is then highly socially surrounded and connected with on LinkedIn. Each buying committee member becomes the focal point of our marketing campaigns around free training and networking seminars in their local area. We expect this level of white-glove service will increase the conversion of each highly engaged opportunity to influence our sales objective.”

Do You See The Difference?

Standard is using LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Twitter, Xing, or WhatsApp because you can. Best practices is diving deep in the functionality of a platform to maximize your competitive advantage (this requires greater skill development). But both these scenarios have the sales/marketing operations or enablement teams fit round pegs into square holes. Their teams are doing “social for social’s sake.”

Best-in-class organizations work the problem in reverse. What are we trying to achieve, what objectives will get us there, and what activities highly influence success?

From answering these questions, what can we do to hyper-accelerate our activities to put rocket fuel on our activities? What digital platforms and tools will accomplish this goal? What specific sales plays WITHIN these platforms will execute the sales play most effectively? The answer is NOT “we should be using LinkedIn Sales Navigator better for all of our sellers.”

If this is your answer, ask yourselves why? For what purpose? For what outcome? For what sales play specifically?

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Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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